PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This review is taken from PN Review 3, Volume 4 Number 3, April - June 1978.

MOST UNEXPECTEDLY Frances Bellerby, The First-Known, Enitharmon Press, £2.10.
Cliff Ashby, The Dogs of Dewsbury, Carcanet Press, £2.00.
Peter Dale, Mortal Fire, Agenda Editions, £2.40.

Frances Bellerby, who died at the beginning of 1976, was one of those poets whose work turns up at the bus stop just in time to see the right public transport for it recede in the distance. The neo-romantic movement of the 1940s would probably have wafted it to appreciation if not acclaim; and it might have taken a seat beside that of the now-neglected Vernon Watkins, another poet of singular purity of voice and language. Both saw the natural world as an expression of the numinous, and that is no longer in fashion: either because belief in the numinous is not currently received, or because most poets-or at any rate most people who read poetry-live in an environment so urbanized or suburbanized that for them nature does not exist except as something to be conserved and put in a tin.

Both Bellerby and Watkins have affinity with Charles Causley, another poet not much heard of among the higher echelons of academic lit. crits. All three have done best when reviving or refashioning the ballad form. Always a risky venture, because of the traps it sets: void rhetoric to be fallen into, facile prolixity to be run away with. Yet if these are evaded the rewards can be glittering, as in the case of Watkins's lucid and powerful 'Ballad of the Mari Lwyd'. And in the case of Frances Bellerby too: 'The Stuttering Water', which opens her book, is a ballad which has the force and plainness, ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image